Part Two- Things Best Left Unsaid...
<The Tower, Rear Entrance>
Adam-X, Windsong, Charblade, and the rest of the Cadre Alliance are crouched in the misty marsh just outside the Gate to Spiral's Ivory Tower, watching and waiting for the perfect time to strike. Adam glances to Windsong and the rest giving her the go ahead signal. Windsong then raises her fist and signals the Cadre to rush the gate. They quickly overcome the five standing guards and a droid sets to unlocking the doors.
"Something isn't right here. This is too easy." Adam says suspiciously. He keeps looking over his shoulder nervously. Expecting to see something, since he can feel eyes on him. "It's too quiet."
"There are normally more sentries present, but since the tyrant Mojo V began increasing the number of his raids they don't have as many dog-soldiers for defense." Charblade responds. "Look, the droid has almost completed unlocking the code sequence, we shall conquer these cowards yet!"
"SHH!! Do you want them to know we're coming!" Adam whispers
"Yes." Charblade turns and fires up his wrist-mounted 'Charblazers'.
The gate begins to part. They file in two by two. A creeping silence grips the room. Then as if on cue alarms sound and the doors clamp shut crushing two Arena Warriors in it's mighty grip. The Cadre Alliance has been divided. Half within; half without. Flying ships and tanks appear outside, hidden in the ground and foliage, preparing to strike. The thunderous engines of destruction quickly gun down the rebel army before they even get have the chance to fight back. Dog soldiers file in from behind a tank to inspect the carnage. The littered corpses are then carried off to the Cutting Room Floor to be reprocessed in the gene tanks. The few survivors they find are made players in the Arena. Windsong is one of them.
Adam-X and the rest on the other side can see all of this through the view screens that are distributed throughout the complex. Mojo V then appears on the screens and informs the Alliance that he and his Protectorate knew of their coming well beforehand. They were warned.
"What have you done with Windsong you freak, if you've hurt a single hair on her head I swear I'll...!"
MojoV puts his thin, bony, yellow finger to his ear mockingly. "Did I hear you right? If I was crazy I'd think you cared for her. . . Oh yes, I forgot, I AM crazy!" MojoV jerks his head back and lets out a shrill and insane laugh. The screen flies away with MojoV is still laughing at him. Then from out of the shadows steps Bloodbath and an army of dog soldiers.
"Imperial Protectorate. . . cancel the Cadre Alliance, and be sure to make a mess while yer at it."
"TRAITOR!!! I WILL HAVE YOUR HEAD AS MY TROPHY BEFORE THIS DAY IS DONE!!"
"I kinda doubt that Charblade, old buddy. But give it a go then, this should be fun. . ." He steps back and flashes his large red armsickles.
The two men charge at each other hurtling insults as well as pain.
"You turned your back on the Cadre Alliance traitor! If I die this day, know that I will live on in the warrior's paradise as promised by Za. I wonder what special place in the Den of Traitors has the Dark One reserved for you Bloodbath!"
"Whatever it is, the big man's gonna to have to hold onto it fer a looooong time bub 'cause I ain't plannin' checkin' outta here too soon. Spiral's made me more powerful than you could ever dream, chump. If you think you got the stuff, then bring it on. I don't have all day!"
"You will not escape my wrath this time coward!"
Charblade leaps at Bloodbath. They fight furiously as the others press their advance and each side takes severe losses. But Adam-X is angry; he thinks about Windsong to himself while holding off two guards alone.
--I should NEVER have let Windsong out of my sight. Now what will happen to her in the Arena? I can't leave Mojoworld until I get her back.--
-- . . . --
--Kythri's bloody claws Adam, you are truly pathetic! Falling in love with someone from another planet 100 years in the future? What were you thinking!-- He grits his teeth and slices through his opponents violently.
"I've had enough. This fight ends NOW!" Adam-X lifts his arm into the air and uses his power to ignite the electrolytes in a person's oxygenated blood, releasing a motherload of pain on the Protectorate. And when only a scattered few Dog Soldiers remain standing they are quickly dispatched by the Cadre. There were many casualties on their side as well. The most notable of which is Charblade. But he did not die in vain. Upon his blade rests the arm of Bloodbath, few have even managed to pierce his dense hide, much less severe his limbs.
The surviving members of the Cadre gather around the dead in a circle. "These men died honorably for our cause. They shall be remembered forever in the Legend." Then suddenly everyone, except Adam, raises their heads back and chant to the stars. It is a warning to the heavens that noble warriors are coming and they should be prepared to great them with a great battle. Then the warriors light torches and burn the bodies to prevent them from being reprocessed in the gene tanks.
"Come brothers, I can feel our slain kinsmen watching over us from the Walk of Fame. Do not let them die for nothing. ONWARD TO SPIRAL!! ONWARD TO VICTORY!!!" The war party chants this as they march forward. Adam-X walks quietly behind them, his thoughts still centered on Windsong. After that speech, Adam realizes that this is what Windsong wanted. Freedom. Freedom for all. He lifts his head with a new hope and marches on with the others.
It is dark and quiet. Not a sound can be heard save the whistle of wind in the long narrow tunnel. Two brave men walk silently in shadows. A glint of metal, the sharp whine of a slashing sword and the guard standing before Spiral's inner chamber is cut down. Slowly from the shadows steps Shatterstar. Behind him is Rictor, his fellow troopmate and the best friend he has ever known. Shatterstar gives Rictor a quick hand signal to strike. Rictor takes a short step back, charges his hands with the eerie green glow that is part and parcel to his unique mutant ability to generate seismic tremors, points at the door of solid Mojonium before them and lets the energy pour from his fingers. The Mojonium swells and then shatters apart explosively. The explosion alerts Spiral's priests who run blindly to protect their twisted mistress. They are met only with the edge of cold steel and a blast of seismic force. Spiral sits quietly upon her throne watching the battle unfold before them. She rises quietly, walks to the other end of the room and opens a huge cabinet with a word. . . "Destiny".
"My dear Benjamin, I have raised you too well. I had not expected you to figure out my role in this dangerous game so quickly. You are ready now. Earlier than predicted, but ready nonetheless. Come then Benjamin, let's see who is better at dancing upon death's edge. Come my Shatterstar, prepare to truly meet your maker!"
Shatterstar and Rictor continue their advance. Before them is a vast maze that every man must pass to reach the Spiral's chamber.
"How do you plan to get past this one Shatterstar?" Rictor asks daunted by the immensity of it.
"Simple Rictor. There is only one way to beat Spiral, and that is to simply not play her games." Shatterstar begins to hum a deep bass tone. Using a mutant ability that he rarely displays, Shatterstar fires a wave of pure concussive force through the mazes many walls. A straight line has been created that heads directly to the gateway to Spiral's inner sanctum.
"That was simple." Rictor says scratching his head.
"Do not let this deceive you Rictor, Spiral is not a foe to be taken lightly. This is only the first of her many obstacles that test your abilities. Very few make it all the way through to Spiral's chamber. . . and none save myself has lived after they meet her." They enter the catacombs. Luckily, most of the traps were broken by Shatterstar's blast.
"You. . . You were the only one?"
"Yes. Myself and another who has already perished in battle."
"Who was he?"
"She was a true warrior that sacrificed herself to save the Alliance itself. I never even had the chance to know her. She died before my creation."
"So how'd you manage to get out alive? Why did sheeeeee...eeeeeelp*" Rictor accidentally falls through a small trap door, but Shatterstar calmly grabs his hand and pulls him up and away from the spikes below while still talking to him.
"Ahem." He brushes himself off a bit. Watching his step more carefully now.
"This was a curious event that I did not fully understand. I had won my way through her death traps and found myself within her secret chamber. We fought a long and powerful time that went on for what seemed like days, she eventually overwhelmed me and held me up in the air. I was certain that she was going to kill me. . ."
"And then. . ."
"And then nothing. She simply looked into my eyes, laughed quickly, muttered something about destiny and her finest hour, and then cast me aside into her teleporter where I was transported to the Cadre Alliance home base. After I was found, battered and broken, the Cadre Leaders hailed me as their greatest hero, that the prophecy had been fulfilled."
"The prophecy Delphi told us when we first found him. He said that, in his own words, ''Some day in the near future, a young man of mixed heritage will journey into the bowels of Hell to face the Queen of Lies and shall return home in victory. He will be the Samurai of the Shatterstar."
"And this guy's name was known to be Shatterstar? Then why didn't they figure it out to be you before that?"
"Before that battle I was not called Shatterstar, then I was known only as Gaveedra Seven."
"Gaveedra what. . .?"
"Gaveedra Seven, my given name. I was the seventh generation of the Gaveedra clan-template. A line of excellent swordsmen and acrobats, but not very affluent in the magic properties of this world."
"When we get back to Earth, we gotta have a serious talk." He sighed, "But back to the fight with Spiral, you said that you lost, but then why were you praised as their "Samurai of the Shatterstar"? Why did they think you won?"
"In an odd way I did win Julio. To merely survive battling the Damned Queen is considered a victory by the Alliance."
"Then what's the problem?"
"When Spiral had me defeated, she said that I was not ready, that the time was not right. I did not know what she meant, I was perfectly ready to die for my cause. She knew this day would come. That this day was one our world would never forget." They reach a tall and thin doorway, "We are here."
Spiral picks up a different blade for each hand. Then she picks up the longsword from the centerpiece.
"What irony is it that you may perish by the very blade that your ancestor once used in an attempt to slay that bulbous baffoon Mojo I, eh Benjamin?"
>From behind Spiral steps Shatterstar, followed by Rictor.
"I have come to kill you, witch! Your reign of terror ends today!
"Hold up! How did you know about the whole Benjamin thing?" Rictor asks puzzled at her words.
"Do not listen to her Rictor, she is incapable of the truth."
"If that were only true Benjamin, if that were only true. You say you seek the truth to know who you really are, Benjamin. Who you were before you were Shatterstar. . . before you were even Gaveedra Seven."
"It is true that I seek answers to these questions, but you're lies are not those. I have only to take your life and save Mojoworld."
"You know as well as I do Benjamin that lies are nothing more than dark reflections of the truth. There is no one who would know the truth more than I, for I have seen your future.... and lived your past. Come my dear, learn about the man before the Cadre Alliance. . . before Mojo. . . before Arize."
"Shatterstar! Stop and think! What if she does know about your past. If anyone would know it's her. Rahne told me about X-Factor's meeting with her and Arize just over a year and a half ago, she said Spiral was from the future of Mojoworld. Your future! You came to me to talk about the questions, well here's your chance to find the answers. Listen to what she has to say. It couldn't hurt."
"Very well then Rictor, I will give her the chance to speak." He says, forcing the words out.
"What do you claim to know of my past witch?"
"Thank you my dear for seeing the truth. . ."
"Skip it Spiral and just give us the answers." Rictor demands.
"Indeed," Spiral bows and begins to take them into folds of time itself, "I think it would be easier on you both if I just showed you what I mean."
They appear in what looks like a busy city. Boston, Massachusetts to be exact.
Shatterstar begins to search around him, "Where are we Spiral? This place feels oddly familiar."
"Funny you should notice. This is where you lived. See that young man with the lovely lady on his arm. That is you Benjamin. This is before you became Gaveedra Seven, before the Cadre Alliance."
"That is impossible witch. I have been a part of the Alliance since I was spawned from the gene tanks of Mojoworld. I want the truth!" He screams the words at her, but even he realizes the weakness of their conviction.
"Shatterstar, calm down, you said it yourself this morning that you suspected as much."
"I have told you no lies Benjamin, merely bitter truths that you would rather not know. <sigh> But I am getting ahead of myself. After the meeting your Terran friend spoke of, Arize and I returned to Mojoworld in the hopes of ending the cycle of pain and anguish that is the struggle of the Spined Ones. We returned to Mojoworld to find that something had gone wrong. The Fallen Messiah had succeeded despite his doomed destiny. All of Mojoworld's history was thought to have been rewritten. Longshot, my one-time paramour, found happiness in the arms of another. The one called Dazzler. Thinking destiny had been broken, that Longshot and I were never meant to be, I accepted their bonding. But destiny was never meant to be broken and it proved that painful fact to me. . . to us all. . . violently. Mojo had never been destroyed, he escaped death through teleportation and dug himself into the underground. Silently building up his own pirate network again, he staged the greatest comeback in Mojoworld. On the day that Longshot was meant to be granted full leadership of Mojoworld, forever known as the Day of the Red Moons, Mojo attacked. In one fell swoop, Mojo reclaimed Mojoworld in the largest ratings blitz in history. He imprisoned everyone at the ceremony, including Dazzler, Arize and myself. Longshot received special punishment. He was crucified and placed in suspended animation. There he remained for what seemed like an eternity. Mojo had retaken control of Mojoworld, but Longshot's actions were never forgotten. Many Spined Ones still possessed a free will and continued to oppose Mojo's rule. They formed the beginnings of the New Rebellion, the Cadre Alliance."
"Do not tell me what I already know Spiral, anyone with access to a child's history log would know about the Day of the Red Moons. Give me the answers I... seek."
"The answers are in front of you Benjamin, you must merely learn to see them."
"But let us continue. After the Longshot was crucified, I began to devise a plan. If destiny would not be denied, the son of Terran and Arize-spawn parents would still come to lead Mojoworld. By this time Dazzler was already great with child. The Hand of Fate was obvious here. In an act of desperation, I stole Dazzler's child from her womb, leaving her to believe it was miscarried. I stole YOU."
"Do you actually expect us to believe that garbage? Couldn't you make a better lie than that? Stealing right out've the womb. You were right 'Star, she's full of lies."
"No, Rictor, she is correct, it makes so much sense. It explains how McCoy's tests say I have almost identical DNA to Longshot.... my father. It also explains the Prophecy. My role as the Risen Messiah, Son of the Fallen. It explains it all." Shatterstar shuts his eyes and hangs his head low, taking in the information painfully.
"Not all of it Benjamin, the images I showed you before, the files your troopmate discovered about you, you still do not know about that. Come with me my Shatterstar, be what I made you to be!"
"Shatterstar. . . are you okay?" Rictor stands over his pained friend. He worries for him.
"What's wrong with him?" Rictor asks, looking up to Spiral angrily.
"He is merely having trouble accepting the truth." She looks on impassively, a little pained herself, but scarcely noticeable by the outraged Mexican.
"My. . . my life. It's all a lie! Why? Why did you choose me?" Shatterstar looks up at her, in his eyes there is a look of... defeat? Rictor has never seen that before in all the years he's known him.
"I chose you because Fate chose you! I had no choice, Destiny could not be denied!" Spiral retorted, growing in menace, the previous look of longing far gone from her features.
"Fate had nothing to do with it! If my destiny was truly inevitable, then you would not have needed to steal me from my parents!" His own anger also rises, his face contorted in rage.
"You are very clever Benjamin, at last you have learned to see the truth beyond the lies."
"You haven't answered Star's question Spiral, why'd you do it?" Rictor says, standing behind Shatterstar, holding him back with a hand on his shoulder.
"Very well, you deserve it... I wanted Dazzler to feel the pain and loss that I felt. I wanted them both to know what it felt like to have the most important thing they had taken away from them; the way Dazzler took Longshot from me! The Destiny did prevent me from enacting my own personal vengeance. I could have done what I did and still stayed loyal to that which has been foretold. I took that chance."
"You're sick Spiral. All your talk about destiny being unbreakable and yet you still tried to make things happen like you wanted them to. You and Longshot were never meant to be together, you should've seen it." Rictor tries to pull Shatterstar away, but he remains still.
"How DARE you! I have served the winds of Destiny with all my strength, I was meant to be with Longshot! I was meant to be the mother of the Shatterstar!!"
"You are wrong, Spiral. You may have taken away my life. . . my past. . . everything I have ever held to be true, but even you cannot steal my honor!" Shatterstar rises from his knees, a scowl on his face. He looks at Rictor. "Come Julio, there is nothing more for me here."
"You will not walk away from me that easily! I still have the answers you seek, now you will follow your destiny and obey me or you shall never know the truth!"
"My destiny is not yours. We will leave forcibly if necessary." Shatterstar has regained his composure, standing firmly against Spiral's blistering anger.
"No my Prodigal Son, you were destined to destroy Mojo's lineage, to end his reign of terror and nothing will stand in the way of making that happen!"
"I shall defeat Mojo's dynasty true, but without you. Now I shall do what I came here to do."
"So be it Benjamin, let us see if the pupil can truly best the master!"
Spiral whirls herself up and spins toward them. Shatterstar shoves Rictor out of the way and leaps up to a hanging wire, then quickly drops down again and strikes Spiral across the back.
"You cannot win Queen of Lies, I will not let you use your words to trick me." He parries as many of her blades as he can, leaping away from them. "Rictor, shoot me with your most powerful vibro wave!"
"What?! Are you nuts?"
"Julio, I have a plan. Do it."
"All right amigo, you asked for it!"
Rictor points his fingers and fires directly into Shatterstar. Seeing this, Spiral starts coming at Shatterstar once again.
"Do not make me kill you Benjamin, the Fates won't be happy!"
But Shatterstar cannot hear her words because of the intense energy buildup due to the combination of Rictor's vibrational pulse wave and Shatterstar's ability to channel sound vibrations into pure disruptive energy.
"Rictor... GO! GO NOW!!"
"But what about you Shatterstar, even you can't live through something like this."
"Do not worry Julio... I will survive it! Now GO!"
He pauses, but then decides to trust his friend's judgment. "Si, I'll be waiting for you amigo." Rictor starts running out of the room to the balcony where they left Droid. He quickly punches some buttons and transforms it into a small aircraft, riding it down the side of the Tower. He looks up just in time to see the tower explode. Rictor is thrown clear by the blast and into a nearby lake. He swims to the shore.
"DAMMIT SHATTERSTAR!!! You suicidal freak!"
"I suppose that means you are angry with me Julio?" Says a hoarse and weak voice.
Rictor spins around to see Shatterstar crawling out of the lake beside him.
"Shatterstar! You're alive! But how..."
"That is something. . . I will have to tell you. . . when I wake up." Exhausted by the extremely excessive use of his mutant powers, Shatterstar slumps over into Rictor's arms unconscious.
To be continued...
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